India awaiting China response on draft border agreement

New Delhi, June 14 (IANS) China is yet to revert with its response to India’s suggestions on the draft of a border defence cooperation agreement that Beijing had proposed in March – before the Chinese troop incursion in Ladakh region.

New Delhi wants to know Beijing’s mind on the suggestions made May 10 on the draft Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) – a proposal thrown up by Chinese Defence Minister General Liang Guanglie during his visit to India in September last year.

Beijing raised the issue when then Indian defence secretary Shashikant Sharma went to China in January this year. China forwarded the draft of the proposed agreement to India in March during defence secretary level talks in Delhi.

India gave a “counter draft” May 10 – days before the visit of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. There has been no response since, an informed source told IANS.

The proposed agreement is on how to handle peace and tranquility on the unsettled over 4,000 km Line of Actual Control that functions as the de facto boundary between India and China.

With both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Li Keqiang stressing on the need to solve their border issue through discussion, National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon is to visit Beijing for the 16th round of Special Representative talks with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi.

No dates have been fixed for Menon’s visit yet though some reports suggest he could go in June-end. Apparently, the dates are being firmed up.

Dates for Defence Minister A.K. Antony’s China visit too have not been fixed.

His visit for continuation of the bilateral defence dialogue could take place in June or July, depending on the presence of the Chinese defence minister in the country.

Chinese troops intruded 19 km across the LAC April 15 and pitched tents, raising tensions between the two countries.

The row ended May 5 after many rounds of negotiations, with both sides reverting to their previous military positions.

The issue figured prominently at the Li-Manmohan Singh talks in Delhi.

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